DVD Release Date: September 8, 2015
Run Time: 94 min
Director: Joseph Quinn Simpkins
Cast: Charlene Amoia, Cameron Arnett, Deena Beasley, John Schneider, Michael Rosander, Myke Holmes
“I get this feeling racing through my veins, this rush. I never get enough, I’m never satisfied. I race to win, and that’s my purpose.”
With an opening like that, Christian viewers might expect Adrenaline to be a high-octane drama with some deep, spiritual themes hidden underneath. However, far from being a Christian version of Fast and Furious, this new project from Living Water Films is more of a survivor story wrapped in a shiny, racing veneer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but like the posters for Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, what you see isn’t exactly what you get. Adrenaline still has the components of a good Christian movie for those willing to jump in the driver’s seat. Whether it’s enough to reach the finish line is another question altogether.
Our story opens with Joseph Jenkins (Michael Rosander), a professional drag racer and self-appointed gearhead. Joseph lives for the thrill of the race, and has made a pretty decent reputation for himself both on and off the track. Tragically, Josh’s dreams all come to a screeching halt when a near fatal accident leaves him semi paraplegic. As he struggles to adjust to his new circumstances, Josh finds encouragement in the form of an old man named Elijah (Gregory Alan Williams) and his recently returned uncle (John Schneider, WWJD The Journey Continues). Under their guidance, Josh will discover a new purpose worth fighting for, and finds himself racing for a much greater glory.
As far as plots go, Adrenaline’s is surprisingly poignant. Once viewers get over their disappointment of not seeing flashy cars race through deserted streets, they’ll settle down to a more introspective story about accepting and overcoming life’s tragedies. You can’t help but empathize with Josh, who has lost not only his ability to walk but also his greatest passion. Michael Rosander does a commendable job of portraying a man who is forced to change his identity, and William’s character is easily one of the most likeable to date. As for the rest of the cast, they provide a strong backbone for the story to rest on, and give the movie a nice atmosphere.
Unfortunately, all of this is overshadowed by two of the films worst features: its pace and its music. For a movie about drag racing, Adrenaline is painfully slow. It lingers over certain situations to the point of awkwardness, and invests more time in mechanical montages than it does in its own characters. Even then, it might have gotten away with the latter if not for the poorly chosen soundtrack. A Christian youth concert would be a more appropriate setting for this music, not a racing film.
This dreadful combination leaves the movie feeling stalled, and if there’s one thing a film named Adrenaline should never be, it’s boring. The underlying Christian message does a little to mitigate the damage, but unless the viewers are Christians who love talking about cars and engines, it will only help so far. Ultimately, Adrenaline crosses the finish line with a respectable, but not altogether impressive score. The acting is decent, the story is encouraging, and the Gospel message finds a place to shine within the narrative. However, if you don’t have at least a passing interest in drag racing or working engines, Adrenaline will prove too slow for you.
Cautions (may contain spoilers):
- Drugs/Alcohol: A few characters briefly drink in a bar, Josh’s uncle is a recovering alcoholic.
- Language/Profanity: Some rude comments are made, but the language is clean.
- Sex/Relationships: Josh and his friend flirt with women in a bar, Josh begins dating his nurse, a man is shown in a hospital gown and boxer shorts.
- Violence/Dangerous Situations: A car crash, drag racing, Josh is crippled after a serious accident, gambling on races is shown, Josh tries to punch a rival, Elijah tells how he was shot by an abusive father
- Spiritual Elements: Elijah prays with his family and talks to Josh about God, Josh has spiritual dreams Elijah tells Josh not to seek his own glory but to seek God, Josh says God is a joke and a fairytale, Elijah’s funeral is held in a Church, Josh later accepts Christ.